UKIBC submits recommendations on Digital Personal Data Protection Bill to MeitY on behalf of members

By Kealan Finnegan

On 23rd December, 2022, the UK India Business Council submitted a constructive list of recommendations to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022. The submission was made following a call for multi-stakeholder views by the Government of India (GoI) concurrent to the new draft Bill’s release in November 2022.

This consultative approach between business and government is most welcome and characterises the GoI’s openness to business views. We are pleased to feed in the views of our members and congratulate MeitY on creating a principle-based regulatory framework to govern data in one of the world’s largest economies.

Our submission contains six key recommendations, which we believe would ensure a privacy regime that balances considerations of privacy and unlocking innovation and accelerating economic growth and prosperity:

  1. The application of the provisions of the Act should be prospective in nature and a Data Fiduciary should not be required to give a Notice in respect of any data collected or processed before the commencement of the Act.
  2. Fair and reasonable purpose for deemed consent should be allowed to be self-determined by that Data Fiduciary (rather than be prescribed as currently provided for in the Bill).
  3. Greater clarity on the transfer of personal data outside of India, specifically the factors and timeline to be taken into consideration for notifying countries for transferring personal data outside of India.
  4. Standard contractual clauses and binding corporate rules based on frameworks such as the APEC Privacy framework and Cross Border Privacy Rules to be considered as legitimate grounds to processing personal data.
  5. A mechanism of regulatory convergence to ensure that added compliance burden is not imposed on the industry in sectors governed by other sectoral regulations that may carry differing obligations, such as financial services, telecom, etc.
  6. Necessary transition provisions for implementation of various provisions. We suggest that a time period of 18 to 24 months be considered for its implementation.

These recommendations, we believe, will strengthen India’s position as a leading digital economy.

UKIBC Managing Director, Kevin McCole, said: “Data-driven services support innovation and present huge economic opportunities by empowering consumers and citizens to make better decisions and enabling businesses to optimise their services. At the same time, robust data protections are an important part of the digital economy, as they ensure respect for individuals’ fundamental rights and strengthen the trust that is necessary to promote full participation in digital society.

“Growth of the data economy is key to India realising its vision of becoming a $5 trillion economy and, as Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal stated at an event we organised on 13 December, a $47 trillion economy by 2047. We appreciate the Ministry’s consultative feedback on the Bill and look forward to working with them and across the Government of India, on behalf of business, towards a Bill that balances privacy, safety, and innovation.”

The UKIBC has been engaging with MeitY since the introduction of the Personal Data Protection Bill in 2019 and will continue to engage on behalf of members as the new Bill continues to develop. This, newest DPDP Bill was released by the GoI in November 2022 following the withdrawal of the previous PDP Bill earlier in August 2022.

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